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Another non-trad at the very beginning looking for advice

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Violet05, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Violet05


    Jun 3, 2008
    Hi fellow non-trads, this is my first post after lurking here for about a month. I’m going to present my situation and if anyone cares to give advice, I would be thrilled.

    I am 25, having graduated 3 years ago from an Ivy League school with 3.3 GPA and honors in my humanities major. In high school and college I volunteered as an EMT and loved it, especially the patient-care aspect, and was told that I should think about being a doctor or nurse, but I was weaker in math/science than I was in humanities, and loved my major, so stuck with that. Also I was not then mentally tough enough to go through the rigor of the pre-med program that many of my friends were completing.

    I took one class each in college of Comp Sci, Geography, and Astronomy, and did pretty badly (C/B-)in all of them, as I was just taking them to fill requirements and focusing on getting A’s in my major classes (which I did). I took the GREs at the end of college and got a 710 Math and 730 verbal, in case that helps any reader evaluate me. I also took an entry-level Statistics class at UConn Stamford last fall and earned an A (I know, big whoop, but it shows I'm not a total math dunce and can apply myself in math/sci academically if I focus).

    Since graduation, I’ve been working as a writer at a global health nonprofit, which has been great, and being around doctors and medical issues, I’ve suddenly been hit by the realization that I would love to be a doctor, and I think I have the intelligence and stamina, although I recognize that I’m very naïve at this early point.

    Since I’ve realized this I’ve read a bunch of books about being/becoming a doctor, MCAT prep, admissions tips, etc. Tomorrow I’m meeting with a doctor to learn what his day-to-day life is like, and also the volunteer director of a hospital where I’d like to volunteer (my EMT certification lapsed due to living abroad, getting more immersed in humanities studying, etc, so I’d like to work in the ED).

    Ok, so my options beyond tomorrow, as I see them are:
    1) Take a year, continue working full-time while taking some basic science courses like Chem 101 and Bio 101 at UCONN’s Stamford branch, while also volunteering at the hospital – to boost my GPA, make sure I can hack science classes, and get volunteering experience and confirm that a doctor’s life is the life for me
    2) Go right into a post-bacc program – Columbia’s deadline for fall entry is June 15, and I’ve sent in all my scores and transcripts to them.

    If I go with option 1 of taking a year, the question becomes how should I do my post-bacc work after that? Formally or informally?g Full-time or at night? (Money is not a make-or-break issue, fortunately, because my parents will pay for half of any post-bacc program and I will take out loans for the rest)

    I would love to get into UConn’s post-bacc program, where I have in-state advantage and the cost is much lower - $7k as opposed to Columbia's $26k per year - so Uconn post-bacc (and maybe med school if I'm not jinxing myself by saying this here) is my ideal plan at the moment. If I could take the year to get ready, and then apply to UConn’s post-bacc program (the deadline for fall entry was April 1, so I was too late) next spring, and get in, I think I would do that. I know it's an extremely competitive program to get into - 20 acceptees out of 300 applicants is what I read on sdn, so it might not be good to put all my eggs in one basket.

    There’s a question of my boyfriend of four years – cherchez l’homme – who from June ’09 to June ’10 will most likely be in LA for a job, and then afterwards settle in DC. At this moment, I would choose UConn’s post-bacc program over following him around, and make it work to stay together, but perhaps someone reading this thinks that UConn isn’t the best move – in that case, could I make an informal hodge-podge post-bacc and have any chance of getting into med school? Like, one year at UConn Stamford, one year at UCLA, one year at American in DC? Or would that be admissions suicide?

    Thanks for reading! Sorry so long and naïve! :) -Violet
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  3. OncoCaP

    OncoCaP 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Start with Option 1. You can go from there.
  4. tbo

    tbo MS-4 10+ Year Member

    May 5, 2002
    You sound like an ideal formalized post-bacc candidate. Those that don't meet pre-med requirements (Humanities majors such as yourself) get into some very strong med schools after doing their post-bacc. A 1440 on your GREs suggest you have the stuff to compete for the top-tier schools. I'd do a formalized program such as Columbia or UConn (saving money isn't a bad idea), nail the MCAT (if the GRE score holds, you'd probably score 35+) and apply to a bunch of schools (I can't stress this enough). 3.3 isn't awful coming from a strong undergrad. You also sound like you've got a pretty interesting and unusual road to medicine, so that will provide the basis for a good PS. One tough part for non-trads is LORs so think about whom can be your advocate either in your public health job or professors at your post-bacc. Ace the classes and the MCAT and you should be well on your way.

    For more post-bacc opinions, posting in the Post-Bacc forum may get some more feedback. I remember Harvard's post-bacc being both cheap and attached to a good name, so you might consider that as well, being in the general location. Best of luck.
  5. 177983


    Dec 2, 2007
    Central VA
    I'd vote heavily for option 2. I'm biased b/c I did one year of option 1, was unhapppy, and now am doing option 2 in the fall.

    For me, at least, the crux of the matter is that I am interested in immersing myself as much as possible in the doctor culture to see if I'd enjoy it. So, next year I'll be taking 3 classes with labs (admittedly not extremely doctor-y), volunteering ~8 hours/wk., and hopefully doing some shadowing as well. So, for me, if I enjoy next year, I'll know the doctor route will be worth it. If not, I'll go to a community college, get my CDL, and become a crane operator...
  6. Lacheln

    Lacheln Cavorting in the Hills 10+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    I'd vote for a year and then UConn post-bacc. Not only is the $$ difference huge between option 1 and 2, but if you do an SMP you need to do really well, so taking a couple of classes beforehand will boost your confidence and get you into the swing of things. A year is not a big deal. I also wonder if doing your SMP at UConn might be looked on favorably by UConn med school - you could call and ask.

    As for option 3, I'd say hell no. A) I've heard switching schools multiple times is viewed rather unfavorably (someone correct me if I'm wrong), B) you will have a hard time re-establishing volunteer work every time you move (it takes a while to find things) and C) you aren't engaged or married. The question is: would you regret not getting into med school after following him around more than losing the relationship due to distance but getting into med school? Not that either outcome is a given, it's just a chance you are taking.

    Good luck either way. :)

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